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Nicks, Barden, Beckum are finding their way

We spent much of the off-season debating the New York Giants' wide receiver situation. Did General Manager Jerry Reese do the right thing by using the draft to plug the need at that position, or will the Giants pay for not bringing in Anquan Boldin, Braylon Edwards, Torry Holt or Marvin Harrison?

After one week of training camp there can be no definitive answer to that question. The answer likely won't come until this season is done, and maybe even for several seasons after that.

What can be said is that all three rookie receivers drafted by Reese have shown flashes of why the Giants believed they did not need to go out and get veteran replacements for Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer.

During the first few days of camp, first-round pick Hakeem Nicks, and third-round picks Ramses Barden and Travis Beckum have all provided glimpses of their potential.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Barden has probably been the most consistently impressive of the trio of young pass-catchers. Again and again during the week, Barden used that huge body to his advantage, getting position to make catches in traffic. Even when tightly covered, Barden seems able to use his size and strength to take the ball away from smaller defenders.

While he might be impressing the people around him, Barden is not impressing himself at this point.

"I like to think that I'm a fairly big critic of myself," Barden said Friday afternoon. "There's certain things that I'm happy about, but there's not one thing that I can't do better ... much better."

Asked again about his progress over the weekend, Barden reiterated the point.

"I’m pleased with my effort," he said. "It’ll be a long, long time before I’m ever pleased with my performance. I have a lot to learn and a lot to accomplish and I just want to make sure that each day I can look back and say I got better"

Barden said the veteran Giants have been helpful.

"The thing that I love about this team is that you don’t even have to ask for advice," he said. "Somebody’s already going to be there to reach their hand out and provide that information to help us with that adjustment, whether it is on a route or just adjusting to the NFL life."

Nicks spent some time on the bicycle this weekend nursing a sore hamstring. After starting slowly the first couple of days, Nicks did make some nice catches -- including a couple of deep balls -- as the week progressed.

"There's stuff I still need to improve on, so I just gotta keep working hard on that," Nicks said.

Last week Nicks' college coach, Butch Davis, was quoted saying that the biggest adjustment for a wide receiver coming out of college is learning to handle NFL press coverage. Nicks concurred.

"I would agree with that," Nicks said. "It's honestly something that we see every day. It's not something that I had seen every day in college.

It's not something that I can't overcome. I've just got to get my shoulder pads low coming off the line of scrimmage and just do what I do."

Like Barden, it seems Nicks can be tough on himself. He missed a long ball Thursday night that was badly underthrown, causing him to lose his balance as he tried to adjust to it. Yet, Nicks figured he should have hauled it in.

"If it comes my way I feel like I should catch it," Nicks said. "I don't know if that's just me being hard on myself. ... I was supposed to have that one."

Nicks has also been impressed by Barden.

"I think Ramses is doing a good job right now," he said. "He's picking up very well, getting off the jam in the slot. I think he's doing real well"

As promised when Reese drafted him, the Giants have used Beckum primarily in the slot as an H-back during camp.He has shown excellent hands during the early part of camp, and has shown that he can be a handful for a linebacker trying to shadow him in the middle of the field.

"I didn't expect to just come in here and be able to make all the plays," Beckum said. "It's a learning process that I'm definitely excited to go through."

Beckum said the more comfortable he gets with the playbook the more comfortable he is on the field.

"When you go out there and play hesitant you're not running as fast as you can or being as precise," Beckum said. "So when you know it well it'll be a lot easier, and I think I'm really starting to get the playbook. That enables me to go out there and perform at a higher level."

So, be optimistic about this trio of rookie receivers, Giants' fans. Through one week, they haven't given you any reason not to be.